Responsible Tourism& OUR COVID SAFE PLAN
Often the most interesting and spectacular places we want to visit are also some of the most ecologically and culturally sensitive in the world. EPIcURIOUS travel believes that through our commitment to responsible and ethical tourism it is possible for these uniquely special places and communities to remain special, protected and benefit directly from visitation.
In Australia and overseas we aim to support and benefit the communities into which we venture and ensure no negative social, economic or environmental impact results from our visit.
We achieve this by keeping our group numbers very low, using locally owned suppliers, local guides and staying in small-scale accommodation where available. We ensure the communities we visit do receive the economic benefit and are not overwhelmed by our presence.
Travelling with EPIcURIOUS you will encounter authentic experiences and meaningful connections with the local people giving you a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues.
COVID SAFETY FOR OUR GUESTS
We are living through a time in history which is quite extraordinary, as the COVID-19 pandemic affects us all in every aspect of our lives. Our thoughts and very best wishes go out to all members of the Epicurious Travel family across the globe.
Whilst Epicurious Travel has always taken a serious approach to the comfort and safety of our staff and guests, recent changes to our knowledge and understanding of this highly infectious virus has necessitated an enhancement of our procedures. This COVID Safe Plan includes the measures we are actively taking to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and applies to all Epicurious Travel employees, contractors and clients. This plan has been put together using the combined advice of the WHO and Australian Federal and State Governments.
As a Travel Company, Epicurious travel works from a central office in Melbourne, Australia completing the administration aspect of planning and arranging tours. These tours take place both within Australia and internationally, on a private or small group basis. The following guidelines apply to the Epicurious Travel office, as well as to those tour hosts or adventure guides directly employed by Epicurious Travel, and to the clients who participate in these tours. External service providers such as drivers (and their vehicles), hotels, cooking class hosts or restaurants, shops, providores, galleries and museums are carefully selected by us for their high standards but are required to provide their own COVID Safe Plans, which we will view in advance of travel.
There will be changes to how some services are provided, for example a breakfast buffet may be replaced by a la carte options or a staff member may act as server rather than there being the option to self-serve using shared utensils. We do expect our staff and guests to respect and adhere to the requirements outlined in individual plans.
We will continue to be guided by the advice that we receive and will update these measures in response to government guidelines in order to safeguard the health of our guests and staff.
Thank you for your understanding and continued loyalty to Epicurious Travel, and allow me to assure you that despite the serious nature of these directives, our tours will still offer the same level of care, sense of adventure and quality experience they have always done.
With warm wishes,
OUR COVID SAFE PLAN
BEFORE TRAVELLING WITH EPICURIOUS
We will send you a specific COVID-19 compliance and health declaration document a week prior to your tour date which you will be required to sign and return. This document will ask you details about your health and any exposure you may have had to COVID-19 positive individuals.
In the days before travel, should you develop COVID-19 symptoms (including fever of 37.5 degrees or higher, cough, sore/scratchy throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, new loss of taste or smell), it is imperative that you get tested and remain at home until reaching your results.
PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF TRAVELLING AS A GROUP
Your tour host or lead guide will be your designated COVID Marshall and will be responsible for maintaining all of the required recommendations for the duration of a tour. As a participant on an Epicurious Travel journey you will be expected to abide by your tour host’s directives in relation to reducing the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 as well as support them in complying with Government guidelines. Some of our journeys involve visits to vulnerable communities where vigilance is imperative.
As we operate in a number of locations, some measures may not apply.
Whilst our groups are usually always smaller than 10 to 12 in number, group size will be compliant with local Government regulations.
If required, screening of employees and group participants will take place at the start of each day or session with temperature checks; for example, when boarding the bus. Anyone whose temperature falls outside the mandated parameter [above 37.5 degrees] will not be permitted to join the group. They will be required to self-isolate with continued temperature monitoring. Anyone who refuses to be tested will be excluded from the group.
During group tours the mode of transport used will be adequate in size to enable group members to physically distance, or journeys will not exceed nominated durations, in accordance with current guidelines for the destination.
Wearing of masks may be required when travelling in a shared vehicle. Group members should occupy the same seat for each journey.
In cases where the vehicle is provided by a third party, the operator of the vehicle will be required to show evidence of their own COVID Safe Plan and take responsibility for regular cleaning as well as the maintenance of usage logs.
Implement an entry and exit system for doorways where possible and open the windows to ensure good ventilation.
In multi-storey venues we encourage use of the lift for going up and the stairs for coming down.
During outings such as outdoor walks, continue to maintain physical distancing between yourself and anyone not from your household.
HYGIENE & PHYSICAL MANAGEMENT MEASURES
At the commencement of a tour each client will be issued with a personal care pack containing a bottle of hand sanitiser, disposable face masks, anti-bacterial wet wipes and tissues.
Physical contact such as handshakes or embraces will not form a part of our greeting or parting procedure.
Handwashing has been identified as one of the single most effective ways to prevent the spread of the virus. Wash your hands for 20-seconds using warm water and soap after using the toilet, before eating and if you cough/sneeze into your hands.
Practice safe coughing & sneezing practices. If you use a tissue, discard it properly and wash or sanitise your hands immediately. If you find yourself coughing/sneezing on a regular basis, avoid close physical contact with others and wear a mask.
Use the provided hand sanitiser (minimum 60% alcohol content) regularly.
Avoid touching your face, particularly eyes, nose and mouth.
Even if wearing a reusable fabric face mask or disposable face mask is not mandatory in your location, consider doing so in areas with poor ventilation, where community transmission is high and physical distancing is not possible or if you have an underlying health condition and compromised immunity. Epicurious employees will carry a supply of disposable face masks should any individual not have their own.
When moving as a group, practice physical distancing by standing at least 1.5 metres away from other groups of people.
Take extra care around vulnerable people.
RESTAURANTS, COOKING AND SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS
In settings where accommodation is provided and managed by Epicurious Travel, such as our Larapinta Trail camp, additional sanitation measures will be implemented. This includes, but is not limited to, additional cleaning of high touch and communal facilities such as door handles, water urns and toilets. Group members will be encouraged to utilise the same seating on the bus and around the camp for the duration of the tour. Breakfast and lunch will be served by Epicurious staff rather than offered as a buffet, in order to eliminate the sharing of implements. The current practice of regular deep cleaning of shared amenities and the provision of fresh water and soap will continue.
Establish and maintain a register of attendance of all employees and group members for each day of a tour, including timing of activities longer than 15 minutes. These records are used for COVID-19 tracing purposes only and are stored confidentially and securely.
All individuals will be allocated their own sleeping quarters separate from other group members unless they are from the same household or in accordance with applicable local Government guidelines.
IN CASE OF ILLNESS DURING A TOUR
If an individual becomes unwell during the tour and a case of COVID-19 is suspected, our staff member will safely isolate the individual and arrange for testing.
If the individual cannot be separated from the group, they will be required to wear an approved mask.
The tour leader will communicate with the Epicurious Travel office and local health authorities and keep all other group members up to date with developments.
Whilst awaiting results, the tour leader will advise all known individuals who were close contacts with the suspected case to be vigilant about the onset of symptoms and minimise their movement.
The tour leader will implement a process for cleaning and disinfection of high touch areas frequented by the affected person whilst awaiting the results.
The tour leader will compile records from the period of 48-hours prior to the onset of symptoms in the suspected case that include contact details of all other clients who have been in direct contact with the affected person to assist in contact tracing should the individual test positive.
For a confirmed case the tour leader, in partnership with the relevant Government body, will advise all known individuals who were close contacts to self-isolate and arrange for testing.
We have ensured that all Epicurious Travel staff understand the risk level and compliance requirements according to Government directives.
Employees have increased safety training on COVID-19 transmission prevention measures such as the use of face masks, hand hygiene, disinfection of commonly touched surfaces and physical distancing.
Tour guides and hosts who display symptoms will not travel with the group. Office staff who display symptoms, but are able to work, will work from home. All staff who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be advised to self-isolate and seek medical advice. They will also be asked not to come into physical contact with any colleagues during this time.